Title: Highlander Most Wanted
Author: Maya Banks
Source: I received a digital advanced reader’s copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Availability: March 19, 2013 release in Mass Market paperback and e-book (Ballantine Books)
Genevieve McInnis is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any other man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead or to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her that longs to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting.
Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and her quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever.
[H]e wasn’t thinking of what he could take from her. He only thought of what he could give her. Of how he could woo her with sweet kisses. Tell her how beautiful she was … Take away all the pain and humiliation and shame and, in their place, give her something beautiful.
Highlander Most Wanted is the second installment in Maya Banks’ series “The Montgomerys and Armstrongs” and picks up almost immediately after the events of Never Seduce a Scot. Although it can be read as a stand-alone book, I think reading Never Seduce a Scot first is probably a good idea since the events are closely related and almost all the same characters appear. I previously reviewed Never Seduce a Scot (4/5 bottles of polish).
Genevieve McInnis has been the prisoner of the twisted and sadistic Ian McHugh for over a year. Kept in deplorable conditions, used and abused by Ian and his clan, Genevieve despaired of ever escaping her captor. The hope of freedom finally came when the combined forces of the newly allied Montgomery and Armstrong clans arrived at McHugh keep to avenge the crimes committed against Eveline Armstrong Montgomery, wife of the Montgomery laird (Eveline Armstrong and Graeme Montgomery’s story is told in Never Seduce a Scot).
Charged by his brother Graeme with the task of capturing the McHugh keep and bringing the surviving McHugh laird to justice, Bowen Montgomery is appalled at the dismal condition of the McHugh clan upon his arrival. Even more disturbing to Bowen than the lack of food and supplies on hand is the cruel and disgusting way the clansmen treat Genevieve – despite the fact that she bravely faced the conquering warriors and pled for mercy for the McHugh people.
Bowen is instantly captivated by Genevieve. Her breathtaking beauty is marred by the disfiguring scar on her cheek, inflicted upon her capture by the possessive Ian McHugh. He’s also drawn by her “courage and resilience.” For her part, Genevieve is intrigued by Bowen and his unfaltering honor towards her. The abuse and humiliation Genevieve has suffered (and continues to suffer) from the McHugh’s makes Bowen’s championing of her a powerful aid in the path to her recovery.
Bowen and Genevieve were open and truthful with one another throughout the book. Rather than draw unfounded conclusions, they asked important questions and gave one another honest answers. If they had a doubt or concern they talked about it instead of allowing the all to frequent romance novel Big Misunderstanding to rear it’s cliched head.
Since Genevieve had been sexually victimized by her captor Ian McHugh, the development of physical aspect of Bowen and Genevieve’s relationship was something I worried would be glossed over. Ms. Banks handled their burgeoning sexual relationship with tenderness and respect for the heroine’s experiences. Bowen’s love and respect for Genevieve and all she had suffered was well portrayed.
There were a few minor plot points that gave me pause but nothing that really took away from my enjoyment of the story as a whole. I recommend Highlander Most Wanted* as another fine effort from author Maya Banks. I look forward to the September 2013 release of the next tale in saga of the Montgomerys and Armstrongs, Highland Ever After, featuring Taliesan McHugh and Brodie Armstrong (two endearing characters from Highlander Most Wanted who I’m thrilled to see get their own story).
*I was a little confused by the title since it sounds like the book is about an outlaw. I suppose it refers to the fact that Bowen Montgomery is the Highlander most women want – and I really can’t disagree with that!